Small Animal FAQs

I have an emergency, and it’s after 5PM. What do I do?

We have an on-call doctor on staff for after-hour emergencies. Please call our office at 530-233-4156 for further instructions after 5PM weekdays, after 4PM Saturdays and on Sundays. There is an emergency fee for after-hour exams.

I'd like to have my new dog vaccinated. What is the procedure for that?

If your dog is a puppy and has never been vaccinated, we will start booster shots for it. The first shot should be done around 6 weeks old. Another vaccine should follow 3-4 weeks after and one last vaccine should follow 3-4 weeks thereafter. Your pup should be vaccinated for Rabies at four months of age.

How often should my dog be examined by a veterinarian?

For most healthy dogs, an annual exam is recommended. If your pet should have a chronic medical condition, it may be beneficial to have an exam and any necessary tests performed more often than once a year.

My dog has worms. What should I do?

Call and make an appointment. We can give your dog a de-wormer during the exam or you may bring in a fecal sample for us to test for parasites.

Do you recommend any tests for older dogs?

Yes, as a dog reaches the age of 7-10 years old and depending on the breed type, we will recommend collecting a blood sample once a year to run a senior blood screen. It will help determine if there are any underlying or developing health conditions that can be treated or managed before they cause any serious medical conditions. 

Should I brush my pet's teeth?

Brushing your pet's teeth can significantly decrease the development of plaque and tartar on the teeth which may eventually cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. Remember to only use canine/feline toothpaste when brushing.

What types of food can be dangerous to my dog?

Some of the more common foods that can cause serious health problems including, but not limited to: chocolate (any type), caffeine, chewing gum (w/xylitol), nuts, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, onions, garlic, food high in fat and alcohol.

How do I know if my dog has allergies?

Allergies in dogs are becoming a more common and serious problem. Dogs can develop allergies to many things we are allergic to, including molds, dust and grasses. Dogs may also become allergic to the foods they eat. Allergies can manifest as skin problems in your dog. Excessive scratching, licking various parts of the body, chronic ear infections and poor skin conditions are common clinical signs. Allergies can be tested if necessary; however, most are managed medically with antihistamines, specialized diets and topical therapies. A specific treatment plan is usually tailored to your dog’s specific needs. 

Why does my dog sometimes “scoot” along the ground?

This behavior, along with possibly licking excessively around the anal area, may indicate your dog's anal sacs are full and may need to be expressed. 

What type of treats are healthy for my dog?

Regardless of the type of treat, they should be given in moderation to avoid excess calories and weight gain. Some healthier treats include carrot sticks, Cheerios cereal and green beans. You may also use pieces of your dog’s dry kibble food as a treat or reward. 

What kind of food should I be feeding my dog?

There are many types and varieties. Most dogs do very well on commercial dog food their entire life. Our veterinary clinic also carries prescription diets formulated to benefit a dog with a specific medical condition as prescribed by your pet's doctor.

I have a puppy who hasn't been vaccinated by a veterinarian and is vomiting with diarrhea. What do I do?

It's possible that your puppy might have canine parvovirus, a highly contagious infection that is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by antibodies or vaccinations. The common signs are severe vomiting and diarrhea along with lethargy. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization. Vaccinations can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases. If you think your puppy might have parvo, please call our office ahead of time and we can instruct you on the necessary procedures to bring your puppy in to be examined. 

What is the normal gestational period for my dog or cat?

A normal pregnancy lasts 63 days.

My dog was bred yesterday. Is there anything I can do to prevent a pregnancy?

Please call our veterinary clinic for further information. The safest way to prevent pregnancy is to have your pet spayed. If you want to breed your dog in the future, there are other options.

Is it ok if my cat eats my dog's food?

No, your cat should not be eating your dog's food. Commercial foods designed for dogs do not have the level of protein and other nutrients that cats require for their growth or maintenance. Also, dog food does not produce the level of acidity in the urine that cats should have to help prevent the formation of bladder or kidney stones.

What brand of cat food should I choose?

You can find a variety of well balanced cat food on the market. If you decide to change brands, please do it gradually to avoid gastrointestinal upset.

What common foods should I avoid feeding my cat?

Some common foods that are toxic to cats are onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, green tomatoes and green raw potatoes.

At what age should I spay or neuter my pet?

The best time to spay or neuter your cat is around six months of age. They must be current on vaccinations given by a veterinarian. Please call our office to schedule this surgery. 

Which plants can be poisonous for my cat?

There is a long list of plants that are toxic for cats. Please refer to the ASPCA poisonous plants list at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/ to identify any of your indoor plants are on the list.

What vaccines should my cat get?

All cats should be vaccinated against rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia and calicivirus (FVRCP). If your cat roams outside, we also recommend a vaccine to prevent feline leukemia.

It’s impossible for me to give oral medication to my cat. What can I do?

If you are not able to give pills or liquid medication to your cat, you can try other options. One alternative is to put it in a pill pocket. Another trick (for your feline) is to crush the pill and mix it with Nutri-Cal or hair ball paste and apply it to the forelegs. Generally your cat will lick it off as it grooms itself.

My animal has an emergent medical need and I don't have any money. Can I charge it and pay later?

We do not accept charges to small animal accounts. For those customers who enjoy the convenience of charging, we recommend CareCredit. CareCredit offers special financing and low monthly payment options, no up-front costs and no prepayment penalties. Click here to find out more information about the CareCredit program.

Do you service large and small animals?

Yes, we serve dogs, cats, equine, cattle and more.

I would like to have my pet spayed or neutered. How do I set that up?

Your pet must be current on vaccinations given by a veterinarian and you will need to call our office to make an appointment. Pets need to be dropped off the evening prior to surgery and will need to stay the night to insure no food has been ingested. You may pick up your pet after 2PM the day of the surgery.

Should I let my pet have one heat cycle or one litter before spaying?

No, there is no advantage to letting your animal have a heat cycle or litter. The advantages to spaying include decreasing the chances of mammary cancer, uterine infection, cystic ovaries and potentially higher costs due to an emergency surgery. In males, neutering decreases the risk of prostate cancer. Spaying and neutering decreases the pet's tendency to roam the neighborhood, to mark or spray its' territory, and decreases the number of unwanted puppies and kittens.

Modoc Veterinary Center

501 Highway 395 N.
Alturas, CA 96101

(530) 233-4156
Fax: (530) 233-3286

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Hours- Closed for lunch 12PM-1PM

Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm

Wednesday 8:00am - 5:00pm

Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm

Saturday 8:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday Closed